Michael Rooks

Wieland Family Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Michael Rooks

Michael Rooks is the High’s Wieland Family Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Known as an art curator dedicated to community building and engaging audiences across generations from every walk of life, Rooks joined the High in January 2010. In addition to his responsibilities at the High, Rooks served as commissioner and cocurator of Workshopping: An American Model of Architectural Practice at the U.S. Pavilion, 12th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in 2010 and is an independent writer.

Prior to joining the High, Rooks held curator positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), the Contemporary Museum Honolulu, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts. At MCA Chicago, he curated several group exhibitions and solo projects in addition to major retrospective exhibitions of work by Roy Lichtenstein and H. C. Westermann, for which he coauthored Westermann’s catalogue raisonné. As curator at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, he curated more than fifteen exhibitions including projects by Michael Lin, Paul Morrison, and Yoshitomo Nara.

His exhibitions at the High include Monir Farmanfarmaian: A Mirror Garden (2022–2023); What Is Left Unspoken, Love (2022); KAWS PRINTS (2021); Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors (2021); With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith (2018–2019); Al Taylor, What Are You Looking At? (2017–2018); Imagining New Worlds: Wifredo Lam, José Parlá, Fahamu Pecou (2015); Alex Katz: This Is Now (2015); KAWS: DOWN TIME (2012); and two historical survey exhibitions in partnership with MoMA, Fast Forward: Modern Moments 1913-2013 (2012–2013) and Picasso to Warhol: 14 Modern Masters (2012), among others.